Command & Conquer, abbreviated to C&C and also known as Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn during development, is a 1995 real-time stratgy computer game developed by Westwood Studios for DOS and published by Virgin Interactive. It was the first of twelve games to date to be released as part of the Command & Conquer franchise, including a prequel and five sequels. On August 31, 2007, current publisher and owner of the C&C franchise Electronic Arts made Command & Conquer (Windows 95/Gold version) freely available for download from their official website, to mark the franchise's 12th anniversary. The game was also released on the PlayStation Store for PlayStation 3 owners. The game had minimum specifications released for both MS-DOS and Windows 95.
Set in an alternate history 1995, Command & Conquer tells the story of two globalized factions: the Global Defense Initiative of the United Nations, and the ancient quasi-cult, quasi-state organization, the Brotherhood of Nod. The factions become locked in a mortal struggle for control over a mysterious resource known as Tiberium that is slowly spreading and infecting the world.
Met with acclaim by consumers and critics, Command & Conquer was released for seven separate platforms along with becoming the initiator of the Command & Conquer franchise, and today generally is considered as one of the titles (alongside StarCraft) which originally defined and popularized the modern real-time strategy genre.
One of the quintessential titles of the modern real-time strategy genre, Command & Conquer's gameplay mechanics will typically require the player to construct a base and then acquire a flow of resources, in order to fund the ongoing production of various forces to assault and conquer the opponent's base. Command & Conquer features around 50 different units and structures. Virtually every type of structure in the game acts as a tech tree node, and additional units, structures and special abilities become available to the player as new structures are built and placed. Access to advanced units and abilities can be temporarily blocked if the required structures are destroyed, or if they are not being provided with adequate power by the supporting "power plant" structures.
All structures available to the player are built on-site at a "construction yard" building, which can either be already deployed on the battlefield as the mission starts or begin as a large-sized mobile construction vehicle ("MCV"), which is capable of deploying itself into a construction yard at a suitable location of the player's choice. As a structure is being constructed, resources will steadily be deducted from the player's credits counter until construction is completed. When the construction yard has finished building the new structure, the player can select a spot next to a pre-existing structure in order to place it, where the prefabricated building will rapidly begin unfolding in a distinctive manner. Base defense is provided by specialized defensive structures, as well as fortification in the form of sandbags, wire fences and concrete walls. Later on in the game, the player can build lethal defensive structures like guard towers with machine guns or rockets, gun turrets, or the iconic "Obelisk of Light" of the Brotherhood of Nod.
While the two sides largely mirror each other in regards to tech trees and unit types, each has a distinct strategic preference. GDI units are intended to be sturdy and are often more powerful than their Nod counterparts, at the cost of being more expensive and having slower movement. GDI forces also have access to air and naval support. Stationary defenses include the guard tower and missile armed advanced guard tower which can engage ground and air targets. Conversely, Nod's units are cheap and fast, at the cost of withstanding less punishment. Nod forces are made to avoid direct engagement as much as possible, relying on hit-and-run tactics, active camouflage and guerrilla warfare to gain the advantage. Nod also has access to limited air support and naval support. Stationary defenses include the anti-tank gun turret, the Obelisk of Light laser guard towers and the surface-to-air missile (SAM) site.
Tiberium, the game's sole resource (except for the occasional money crate), is acquired by specialized "harvester" units which bring their cargo to a "refinery" structure and which in turn will convert the crystals into usable resources, expressed as credits. The Tiberium itself requires storage space in the form of "refineries" and, in the case of excess, "storage silo" facilities. Deposits of Tiberium are able to slowly regenerate and proliferate on the battlefield if not depleted beforehand, and can also cause nearby plant life to mutate itself into so-called "Blossom Trees". Blossom Trees seed Tiberium spores to their surroundings, and once one or several are present on the battlefield Tiberium deposits will regenerate themselves on the map indefinitely.
Command & Conquer features two story-driven single-player campaigns which together consist of a total of 50 missions. The player is required to complete about 15 missions as either GDI or Nod to end a single-player campaign successfully, however the missions can differ depending on the route of conquest the player takes throughout the campaign, which allows for a higher replay value with each playthrough. Most of the mission briefings in the single-player campaigns are presented in the form of a full-motion video which features live actors, with the two campaigns together having over 60 minutes worth of FMV material. Campaign mission objectives range from complete destruction of enemy forces to selective destruction, special operations or objective defense. Some of the missions of C&C first innovated various twists to the standard RTS single-player formula such as limited or no base building, and mission-specific rewards for goal completion. A common bonus reward for the GDI faction for example is the availability of the "Airstrike" power after the destruction of all SAM sites on the map, though if the computer is GDI, airstrikes would be available to it from the beginning of the mission, regardless of any anti-air missiles the player possesses.
In almost every mission in the single player campaigns(except the first three of each one), the computer is given a huge resource advantage over the player, and always starts out with fully operational bases with all structures already built, and armies ready to attack from the beginning of a mission. The player however, usually starts out with nothing but an MCV and a handful of troops, and has to build everything from scratch, thus making the first ten minutes of a mission the most difficult. The computer also has an advantage in unit and building costs. It costs the computer 10 times less than the human player to construct or train any unit or building, meaning the computer has almost unlimited resources. For example, the computer can sell a barracks, and from the money brought in by that alone, it can build another barracks, an Obelisk, and a Tiberium refinery. The computer also has the ability to construct buildings anywhere on the map except near the player's own initial base, whereas the player cannot construct any buildings except in very close proximity to his other buildings. And of course the computer has the known advantage of speed and micromanagement, it can give a hundred orders in a second to all units on the map at the same time, whereas the player can only handle one selection at a time. All this, and many other computer advantages, serve to make the campaigns more challenging and give more playing time. The computer does have a disadvantage though, it attacks in small groups instead of committing all of its forces at the same time like the player.
There are multiple ways to finish off an enemy in the single-player missions. The most costly is an all out assault relying on superior numbers, which often results in huge unit loss for the player, and if the attempt is failed the computer could easily fully recover with its cost and resource advantages, while it would be very difficult for the player to build another sizable force to replace the original. Another method, which is often very effective, is to stay away from the enemy base, while constantly attacking and destroying the enemy's harvesters(which the computer would continually construct in large numbers) until it is completely bled out of resources and is unable to build anymore, resulting at that point in giving the player time to take out the computer's base defenses and units slowly and with care until the computer is finally defeated. The fastest and often silliest method to win is to pack an APC(only available in the GDI campaign) with engineers, and steer it past enemy defenses; with its fast speed it is only vulnerable to obelisks; then unload it inside the enemy base and instantly capture all buildings in sight(with first priority being to capture the construction yard so that the computer can't rebuild any of the buildings it loses), thus completing a mission in a few minutes. But this method requires lots of saving and loading until it finally works.
Five "secret" missions are included on the Command & Conquer CD-ROMs, and can be accessed by providing the word funpark as a command line parameter. In the original DOS release, Command & Conquer: The Covert Operations expansion pack (which automatically updated the base game version to 1.20) was required to access these missions. The DOS C&C 1.22 patch also unlocks the
funpark parameter and the 'Untamed Land' track. According to the release notes of patch 1.02 of the Command & Conquer: The First Decade compilation pack:
Creating a shortcut for Command & Conquer and adding on 'funpark -cd.' (without quotes) to the end of the 'Target' will allow the funpark missions to be accessed when the user selects 'New Game' from the Command & Conquer in game menu.
Note that the
-cd. parameter is added to activate the game's inbuilt No-CD system, which is used by the First Decade compilation pack.
The original DOS release features multiplayer with up to four players, which was a rarity at the time, and supports play over network, null modem and modem. Multiplayer over an internet connection was added in the Gold Edition/Windows 95 Edition release of Command & Conquer, which sports several other improvements over the original DOS version.
As a result of changes to the IPX protocol libraries for the Windows XP and Windows 2000 environments, however, network play through this method has been rendered unavailable, except for matches that are played over parallel or serial link. Westwood Studios released a patch that disabled the game's LAN function to prevent the malfunctioning protocol from crashing the game on startup. This problem was later solved when an alternative version of the patch was released by a community member. The patch converts the game's network traffic to the UDP protocol.
Despite the fact the combination of the community-controlled XWIS servers and the unofficial network patch enabled online play again, the method to start a game through an external application remains tedious, and the system only supports 2-player games. Several attempts have been made to enhance and facilitate multiplayer gaming. In 2009, an anonymous community member calling himself "CnCNetServer" released the CnCNet  application for this purpose. It works with a server which sends the game's packets to all other players that are logged in, but which intercepts and replaces packets so the game uses online IP addresses in its LAN player list. The game then runs a normal LAN game, the only difference being that the opponents are online.
Command & Conquer is set in the latter half of the 1990s after a meteorite crash lands near the river Tiber in Italy. The impact introduces an alien substance to the world dubbed Tiberium, which becomes of unprecedented value due to its unique property of leeching precious metals from the surrounding soil and crystallizing them. However, the process also causes emission of extremely toxic gases.
An ancient and quasi-religious secret society, known as the Brotherhood of Nod, proves to somehow have foreseen the potential of this new substance, and reveals itself to have been investing in the development of technology to harvest the Tiberium crystals ahead of the established scientific community. They soon control almost half of the known supply of what has become the most valuable commodity on the global trade markets, and use these assets to sustain a rapidly growing army of followers worldwide under the leadership of a charismatic and self-proclaimed messianic figure, who is known only as Kane.
Following a series of relentless international bombings which culminate in the destruction of the fictional Grain Trade Center in Vienna, a wave of mass panic and fear begins to sweep the globe. These acts are ultimately attributed to Brotherhood of Nod terrorists and their leader, Kane. The United Nations Security Council realizes Nod has systematically begun with the unfolding of a centuries-old plan for world domination, and sanctions the G7-based Global Defense Initiative task force to intervene on its behalf, inadvertently setting a conflict in motion that will escalate into a modern world war.
Command & Conquer features two sub-plots based on the two playable factions of the game, to make one overarching plot. Commanding the Global Defense Initiative's troops, the player becomes instrumental in eliminating Nod's European forces. Under the command of General Mark Jamison Sheppard, the player completes a range of missions ranging from securing a beach to rescuing civilians and scientists to defending GDI bases from Nod assaults. The player will be taken to battlefields in various countries of Europe such as Germany, Poland, Austria, the Czech Republic, and more. Finally, the player besieges the Temple of Nod in Sarajevo, Bosnia, which Kane uses as his main base of operations.
As a new recruit to the Brotherhood of Nod, the player initially performs tasks for the Brotherhood's second-in-command, a man known as Seth. After Seth attempts to deploy the player in an operation against the United States' military without Kane's approval, Kane kills him and thereafter issues commands to the player directly. The player is entrusted with the mission of driving GDI forces out of Africa through the use of both conventional and unconventional warfare. In order to give Nod a decisive advantage in the conflict, the player is ultimately assigned to gain control of GDI's space-based ion cannon, and establish Nod's Temple on South African soil. The campaign ends with the entire African continent coming directly under Nod influence and the Brotherhood being ready to commit themselves to achieving the same with Europe. The conclusion of the campaign allows the player to choose a historical landmark to destroy with GDI's successfully hijacked ion cannon. Potential targets include the White House, the British Houses of Parliament, the Eiffel Tower and the Brandenburg Gate.
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The creation of Command & Conquer has been characterized by its developers as being a culmination of work at Westwood Studios which had been in progress for several years, with development on C&C having begun in earnest in early 1993. According to former executive producer and Westwood co-founder Brett W. Sperry: "Command & Conquer was the net result of the Dune II wish list." With Dune II becoming the blueprint for the real-time strategy genre, it would subsequently lay the foundations for C&C itself as well. Also according to Sperry, "With Dune II, a commercial and critical success, it was time to build the ultimate RTS without the "leg up" from a license like Dune, and thus Command & Conquer was born. I was fanatical about calling the game "Command & Conquer" -exactly like that- because to me, it perfectly expressed what you did in the game."
The original concept of the Command & Conquer fiction was created by Brett Sperry, Eydie Laramore and Joseph Bostic. Unlike its predecessor Dune II, Command & Conquer was originally intended to be a high fantasy game featuring wizardss and warriors. However, due to the political climate of the early 1990s, and the events of the Gulf War in particular, the developers felt that a contemporary war environment would be more accessible. According to Westwood co-founder Louis Castle: "War was in the news and the threat of terrorism was on everyone's mind. That definitely had an effect on the fictional world of C&C, though a parallel universe was created to avoid dealing with the sobering issues of a real war." "We wanted to make it a contemporary war for a contemporary world, with contemporary politics. At the time, Brett [Sperry] had said that it seemed to him that the next wars won't be fought nation-to-nation, but fought between Western society and a kind of anarchistic terror organization that doesn't have a centralized government. It turned out to be very prophetic". In an interview, Kane actor Joseph D. Kucan mentioned that the Brotherhood of Nod faction was an invention of Eydie Laramore in particular, with the two of them having extensively discussed biblical metaphor and imaged backstory.
The Tiberium substance was introduced to replace the spice from Dune II as the mined resource for building and expanding, with Louis Castle stating: "It solved one of the fundamental problems we had with making an RTS, which was that we wanted to have a central resource that everybody was fighting over. Dune has spice, which made perfect sense—and it was also used when we came to the idea of Tiberium. It became the anchor of the C&C universe because people were arguing over a limited resource that represented wealth and power." The original concept of Tiberium was inspired by the 1957 B-movie "The Monolith Monsters".
The music of Command & Conquer was composed and produced by Westwood Studios' former sound director and video game music composer Frank Klepacki. The original soundtrack can be listened to on his web site, along with various cues that were cut from the game, most of which are also present on the discs of the DOS version and the expansion pack.
Since Command & Conquer's initial success in 1995, versions of the game have been released for many different platforms over time.
The Mac OS version of the game shares many elements with Command & Conquer: Gold version, making it share its 640×480 screen resolution and better GUI graphics compared to the various console ports. The PC version of Command & Conquer: The Covert Operations add-on can be installed on Mac OS as well, by copying the two files from The Covert Operations disk starting with
sc to the Command & Conquer folder, and then increasing the game memory. The method of manually copying these "sc" files works on the Windows 95 version as well.
The game's SEGA Saturn port appears to be almost exactly like the original DOS release. This version can be played with either English, German, French or Japanese in-game voices by changing the system's language setting accordingly, although the FMVs remain in the language that the release was targeted for (English being the most widely spread one, as the others were exclusively distributed in their respective countries).
The PlayStation port is nearly identical to the SEGA Saturn version, but it features five missions exclusive to this port. The game is incompatible with the PlayStation's link cable however, precluding the possibility of multi-player modes. Command & Conquer: The Covert Operations is included. This version has also been released on the PlayStation Store in Europe.
The Nintendo 64 version updated certain graphical elements to 3D, though the terrain texture remained the same. The game offered an optional high-resolution 640×480 mode and a MIDI rendition of the PC version's soundtrack. The videos were removed due to cartridge storage constraints, and replaced with either static images accompanied by the cutscenes' audio tracks, or with cutscenes converted to real-time 3D scenes. This release did not include Command & Conquer: The Covert Operations, but did have four new missions which were referred to as Special Ops
Released as freeware
To mark the 12th anniversary of Command & Conquer, EA released Command & Conquer for Windows as freeware. The game could be downloaded as two 500 MiB ISO images from EA's website; this link no longer offers those files, instead linking to the Origin Store for Command & Conquer: The Ultimate Collection.
- The Covert Operations
An expansion pack titled Command & Conquer: The Covert Operations was released by Westwood Studios in 1996. It includes fifteen new "-very- difficult" single player missions, ten new multi-player maps and seven new high quality CD audio tracks (as well as lower quality in-game versions). Unlike the original games, the expansions missions can be played at any time and in any order, and, with the exception of the dinosaur bonus missions, are not accompanied by briefing cut-scenes. The expansion packs files contain unused music tracks that are present in the DOS version of Command & Conquer, but not in the Gold version.
Installing the expansion pack on older DOS versions of the game patches them to version 1.20. On Microsoft Windows systems, a DOS emulator is needed to start the setup program. However, to install the expansion pack on the Windows 95 (Gold) version of the game, it is sufficient to just copy two specific files from the CD to the game directory.
- Special Operations
The Nintendo 64 and PlayStation versions each have a set of additional extra missions called "Special Operations". These were unique to their specific console, and were not available for the PC version until they were extracted by fans. All of these missions are included in the unofficial 1.06b patch for C&C '95, adding an additional 10 official missions to The Covert Operations' missions list.
- Sole Survivor
Command & Conquer: Sole Survivor was a multi-player spin-off of Command & Conquer. It featured a deathmatch-style game in which each player controls a unit of the original C&C game and travels around the game arena collecting crates to increase the unit's firepower, armor, speed, attack range and reloading speed. Sole Survivor was often compared to a first-person shooter, however played with a bird's eye view of the arena. It featured no single-player mode and the multi-player had no hints of a storyline, and the game was omitted from inclusion in the Command & Conquer: The First Decade compilation pack released in 2006.
Reception and legacy
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Command & Conquer was released to universal acclaim in 1995, and the game's runaway success during the mid-1990s has often been credited with originally having defined modern real-time strategy as well as having played a significant role in popularizing the RTS genre with the wider gaming audience. The resulting C&C franchise has been described as being "nearly synonymous with RTS gaming" and "legendary" by professional reviewers, and continues to this day with a series of 12 games, having sold 21 million copies worldwide prior to the launch of Command & Conquer: Generals in 2003. Command & Conquer was later released as a free download by Electronic Arts.
One of the defining features of the franchise would remain the use of live action full-motion video cutscenes, which play between missions and which serve to both further a typically epic storyline as well as provide players with their objectives for the next level through mission briefings.
The game's content easily fits on a single CD-ROM. However, each box of Command & Conquer contained two CD copies of the game, immediately making multi-player gaming possible with only a single purchase of the game (although each disc featured different single-player campaigns). Westwood Studios advertised this on the packaging with the slogan "A second copy, so you and your friend can destroy each other". This resulted in Command & Conquer becoming the first RTS game title to feature competitive online play, and this is considered the most pertinent outside factor in the success of Command & Conquer.
Minimum & Recommended Specifications
|MS-DOS Minimum Specifications|
|Operating System||MS-DOS 5.0|
|CPU||486 DX2 66 MHz|
|GPU||MCGA-compatible Video Card|
|Optical Drive||2X CD-ROM|
- "The tale of a release date". C&C Communications Center. January 29, 2018. Retrieved September 26, 2020.
- Steam Store
- Westwood Studios (1998-10-23). Official Command & Conquer FAQ v3.0. Retrieved on 2007-05-13
- Westwood Studios (1998-10-23). Official Command & Conquer Gold FAQ v1.3. Retrieved on 2007-05-13
- Westwood Studios (1996-02-06). "Official Command & Conquer Read Me v2.7", C&C: The Covert Operations CD-ROM.
- PSN Update at Three Speech
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- EVA: Tiberium is named after the Tiber river in Italy where it was first discovered. (Command & Conquer) Westwood Studios, 1995
- EVA: Tiberium continues to confound the scientific community, soaking up ground minerals and soil nutrients like a sponge. The end result of this unique leeching process creates the formation of Tiberium crystals, rich in precious metals and available for collection with a minimum of mining expense. (Command & Conquer) Westwood Studios, 1995
- EVA: Human contact with Tiberium is extremely toxic and often fatal; exposure should be avoided. (Command & Conquer) Westwood Studios, 1995
- Male newscaster: New Tiberium harvesting methods instituted by the Brotherhood of Nod increased profitability by 49%. (Command & Conquer) Westwood Studios, 1995
- Male newscaster: Nod Tiberium holdings now account for almost half of the world's known supply, giving the quasi-terrorist group incredible leverage in the London Gold Exchange. (Command & Conquer) Westwood Studios, 1995
- Female newscaster: Kane, the single-named charismatic Nod leader, and self-proclaimed prophet, is among those missing and assumed dead. (Command & Conquer) Westwood Studios, 1995
- Male newscaster: The Grain Trade Center in Vienna was the seventeenth urban bombing in four weeks, blamed on Nod terrorists. (Command & Conquer) Westwood Studios, 1995
- EVA: Sanctioned by the United Nations, the Global Defense Initiative has one goal: eliminate multi-national terrorism in an effort to preserve freedom. (Command & Conquer) Westwood Studios, 1995
- GDI Archives; The Global Defense Initiative: The clash between GDI and Nod has escalated into full world wars twice before - the First Tiberium War (TWI) erupted when both powers were in their formative states, and that terrible war was followed by another worldwide firestorm several years later. (Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, GDI Intel Database) Electronic Arts, 2007
- General Mark Jamison Sheppard: We found him, Commander. Kane's temple and base of operations. This field operative's covert transmission came to us live just five minutes ago, so there's no doubt that Kane's inside. He surrounded himself with his own crack militia. Getting to him... won't be easy. Ironic, isn't it? Kane's planted his temple just outside of Sarajevo. If that sounds familiar, it's because that's where another madman started World War I. And here we are, trying to stop this madman from doing it again. Commander, there is to be no quarter given. No leniency in dealing with Kane and his zealots. Wipe his temple of the face of the Earth. Destroy the bastard. (Command & Conquer) Westwood Studios, 1995
- Seth: So. You're the new addition to the Brotherhood. Well, I'm Seth. Just, Seth. From God, to Kane, to Seth. (Command & Conquer) Westwood Studios, 1995
- Kane:Yes, power shifts more quickly than some people think. I am Kane. While I heed your troops back from the States, I want you to take what men you have left and secure this abandoned GDI base. Once in, build up an arsenal of weapons and use them to wipe out the remaining GDI presence. Oh, and congratulations on your promotion. (Command & Conquer) Westwood Studios, 1995
- Kane: Your efforts have landed us here, my faithful friend. The temple is complete, and we are about to embark upon our greatest exploit. For now relax, and watch as my netrunners dance through the web of cyberspace. Once inside, the world is at my fingertips. (Command & Conquer) Westwood Studios, 1995
- Kane: ...the world. Where to strike? Where will the world most keenly feel the blade of GDI treachery? You have done much to aid the Brotherhood towards this final victory. The choice, my friend, is yours. (Command & Conquer) Westwood Studios, 1995
- Command & Conquer For Windows 95, english manual. Virgin Interactive Entertainment. 1995.
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